The Hawks’ Nest


Catching up
January 12, 2010, 12:49 pm
Filed under: Winterhawks | Tags:

Over the last 10 days or so, we’ve had Nino Niederreiter become the talk of the hockey world, Luke Walker win gold at the world juniors, Brad Ross win the WHL’s player of the month, we submitted a Memorial Coliseum proposal to the city, and oh yeah, traded for a player with nearly 50 games of NHL experience.

It’s an incredibly exciting time right now, even if I’m in the midst of a stretch where I’m working 18 out of 19 days and my son has as much recollection of me as he does his own birth.

Not that I’m complaining mind you. I’ve worked in sports for 10 years, most of those with some pretty awful teams. Historically bad, in some cases. In fact, in nine previous seasons in sports, teams I’ve worked for have only made the playoffs three times. And in those three years, they didn’t manage to win a single postseason game. My personal playoff record in nine years is 0-12. It’s staggering. Actually, it’s depressing.

And while I’m not so foolish as to make any guarantees or predictions, suffice it to say this year is a welcome change of pace.

But this isn’t about me (says the guy who spent 200 words writing about himself).

Let’s talk Sbisa for a second. While the general consensus seems to be that we made a good deal, there’s still people concerned about giving up two regulars for a handful of regular season games and the playoffs from Sbisa.

Was it a risk? Yes and no. Everyone within the organization are big fans of Daniel and Jacob. They’re great guys and solid players with several WHL seasons ahead of them. But consider what it says about our depth when we can make this trade.

In Jacob’s case, his loss is somewhat mitigated by flipping import picks with Lethbridge this year. We’ve moved up from the 40s to maybe top-10, where it’s more than possible we get an impact player. As Matt Bardsley pointed out to me today, consider that when we traded up in the import draft to get Nino last summer, we went from #5 to #2 and had to give up fourth and sixth round bantam picks to do so- two draft picks to move up three spots. With the Sbisa deal, we jumped about 30 spots. And we have Oliver Gabriel ready to take Berglund’s minutes in the interim.

Meanwhile, Daniel, a very talented defenseman, was in and out of the lineup this year. With only Doyle leaving after the season, and Derrick Pouliot and Josh Hanson waiting in the wings, we had a pretty enviable problem: a glut of talented defensemen. Even with expected progression from Daniel, he wasn’t going to move too far up the depth chart. So it’s really a win-win- we deal Daniel from a position of strength, and for him, he goes to a situation where he’s all but certain to play a bigger role.

That’s the great thing about the deal: Mike Johnston swung for the fences, but managed to protect the team in the long term at the same time.

Not bad.

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2 Comments so far
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You may not want to make predictions but I have no problem. As I watch WHL teams this season, I have seen the Winterhawks grow with each passing visit.

There is a special chemistry building among the players and coaching staff that is going to lead to some happy times for Winterhawk fans.

This is a team that can say that “the skies the limit” and with a couple of good breaks this becomes a team that nobody is going to want to face in the WHL playoffs.

Comment by Jess

I have to agree with Jess on the play-off predictions.. On Sbisa I’m a little more skeptical on just how good of a deal we got. Yes he has the experience and is a very good D-man however, currently he’s injured with the Olympics on the not so distant horizon. It’s pretty much a given that he won’t be back next season so we traded Jacob who was busting his hump on the PK, making some incredible blocks and always skating hard for a ? and an upgraded Euro Draft pick. We’ll see how this all pans out. Personally I’m not and I don’t think the other fans are as heartbroken over this trade as they were Mukes.

Looking forward to what the play-offs hold and having to buy tickets after March 13th.

Comment by Mike




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